Soundtrack Central The best of VGM and other great soundtracks

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Rrolack Feb 21, 2016

Does anyone know anything about this project?  It appears that they're a group which pulls VGM soundtracks from the original hardware, and "releases" them in 24/96 flac format.  Their website is here:

http://16bap.theclassicgamer.net/

and a list of their "releases" is here:

http://16bap.theclassicgamer.net/media/


I went ahead and checked out their Streets of Rage flacs, and I will say that they sound much cleaner than the original 1991 Bare Knuckle CD.  For comparison, here is the title screen song from the 1991 release and their release respectively.  You can particularly hear that the drum is much cleaner in the second link than the first:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DtNt_OPOP0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wo5HS2A … vFdklydE3C

While these are obviously not bit-perfect samples (being on Youtube and all), they do represent what I hear from the source material rather well.  Though unfortunately, I can't compare to the 2012 Bare Knuckle Original Soundtrack release, which I don't yet own, and might be much better than the 1991 version.


On their other hand, their Sonic the Hedgehog sounds less good to me than on the 2011 official release:

http://vgmdb.net/album/26814


So that all said, does anyone know more about this project?  If so, is their work considered to be better than officially-released stuff in some cases?  Or not so much?

jazzpaladin Feb 22, 2016

Rrolack wrote:

I went ahead and checked out their Streets of Rage flacs, and I will say that they sound much cleaner than the original 1991 Bare Knuckle CD.  For comparison, here is the title screen song from the 1991 release and their release respectively.  You can particularly hear that the drum is much cleaner in the second link than the first:

If so, is their work considered to be better than officially-released stuff in some cases?  Or not so much?

If it sounds better, it might just have to do with how much conversion technology has improved since then, the advent of things such as 32-bit floating files, 24-bit depth, and a ton of other advances.

In general though, if the original music from 1991 ever went through an analog stage prior to being recorded ...chances are the A/D converter made things sound a bit thin or harsh back then. 

If you were to output something from an emulator though these days, and record it again somehow, or even digitally export it, you could probably make quite a bit of improvements to a lot of things...it wouldn't surprise me if such projects sounded much better than the 1991 CD, not at all.

TerraEpon Feb 22, 2016

IIRC the Sonic release was done from the original composer's digital files, so they could record it in the best possible sound.

jazzpaladin Feb 22, 2016 (edited Feb 22, 2016)

TerraEpon wrote:

IIRC the Sonic release was done from the original composer's digital files, so they could record it in the best possible sound.

Yeah, from a quality standpoint, it never would have made much sense to ever leave the digital realm if it all originated there...but then again, if an engineer was on the "analog" side of the fence...

Rrolack Feb 24, 2016

Brandon wrote:

Don't SPC/VGM players give perfect fidelity?

It's definitely possible to play the dumped raw music files, though it's all a bit painful.  Things like getting the tracks to loop the correct number of times, naming the tracks, putting them in a sensible order, getting volume leveling to work (e.g. R128) is more time and effort than I can realistically spend.  I'll take a well-produced OST over the raw file route any day of the week.

donluca Mar 3, 2016

Brandon wrote:

Don't SPC/VGM players give perfect fidelity?

TerraEpon wrote:

They are still emulators.

Hi everyone, donluca from the 16-bit audiophile project here.

I want to clear some misconceptions about what a VGM file is and how it works.

VGM is basically a logging format, which means (in very simple terms) that it saves all the communications that happen between the main CPU (the Motorola 68k in the Mega Drive case) and the Synthesizer (the Yamaha 2612).

So all it has inside is stuff like

"hey YM2612, it's the Motorola 68k here. You have to play the note "Do" in the fourth key of the instrument 1234 for a duration of 0.2 seconds"

Obviously it is written in machine code and not english tongue

VGMs became popular due to their small size and features which allowed people to play back music through emulators on their PCs and it even allowed looping so you could do a rad 10 hours extended mix of your favorite Mega Drive track.

The question is... what happens if you play a VGM file on the original hardware?
Simple: the VGM will just tell the main CPU to send the YM2612 the information stored in the file which means that it's able to reproduce the original tracks with 100% accuracy.

This is how our project works: we have customized software which plays back VGMs on original hardware which then gets recorded through semi-professional recording equipment.

You can read more about that here 16bap.theclassicgamer.net/faq and here 16bap.theclassicgamer.net/the-equipment (bear in mind both pages are awfully outdated and I should get my ass to work and update both of them. Still, most of the information is correct.)

Our goal is a difficult one: maintaining 100% accuracy towards the original hardware (aka getting you the sound the way the author intended) while recording with maximum quality (no background noise, hiss, distortion and so one, and a stock Mega Drive has lots of them). A difficult task which we managed to get done (or so it seems) as lots of people are praising our work, some of them even going to the length of saying we have the best sounding Mega Drive soundtracks of the Internet, surpassing even the OSTs (with some of them being indeed awful).

Just to make it clear: I'm not here to praise my own work or make comparisons (that's up to you), I just want to create an archive of videogame music recorded with the best possible quality and 100% accurate and share it for everyone to enjoy wink

Feel free to ask me anything, I'll check back this thread from time to time!

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